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COMMONWEALTH v. WILSON (11/17/72)

decided: November 17, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
WILSON, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, May T., 1970, No. 1698, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Norwood Wilson.

COUNSEL

Benjamin Lerner, for appellant.

David R. Scott, Assistant District Attorney, with him Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorney, James D. Crawford, Deputy District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Nix. Mr. Chief Justice Jones and Mr. Justice Pomeroy took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Nix

[ 449 Pa. Page 236]

The Honorable Robert W. Williams, Jr., sitting without a jury, found Appellant guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter, but not guilty of Murder or Involuntary Manslaughter. On April 22, 1971, Appellant's Motions in Arrest of Judgment and for a New Trial were denied

[ 449 Pa. Page 237]

    and he was sentenced to eighteen months to five years imprisonment. This appeal follows.

The sole question raised is whether the evidence presented was sufficient to support the verdict. The trial judge made the following findings of fact:

"On April 3, 1970, the [appellant] entered the Carnival Bar at 40th and Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia at about 12:00 P.M. He had followed two friends of his, Bruce Reese and Eldridge Johnson, into the bar.

"Before Wilson could rejoin his friends, who had taken seats at the far end of the bar, he was invited by the deceased, Lawrence Wyatt, to have a drink with him. Wyatt then ordered two drinks, one for himself and one for Wilson. However, Wilson decided to consume both drinks himself. This precipitated an argument over who was going to pay for the beverages. This argument escalated into a physical fight with Wyatt striking Wilson and Wilson throwing a chair at Wyatt.

"At that point, one of the [appellant's] friends, Bruce Reese, ran over to join in the fray. Reese was soon followed by the [appellant's] other friend, Eldridge Johnson. The fight had reached a point where Reese, Johnson and the [appellant] Wilson all were beating Wyatt on the barroom floor.

"The bartender, Mr. Joseph Stallings, attempted to stop the fight. He grabbed the [appellant] Wilson and pinned him against the bar. But while Wilson was pinned against the bar, Eldridge Johnson stabbed Lawrence Wyatt with a knife and inflicted the wounds which caused the latter's death. There was no evidence that Norwood Wilson himself had any ...


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